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Is the RT-PCR test going away

We have a trip to Ecuador in April and that country requires an RT-PCR test.
This test is hard to find a place in our area that provides that testing.

Also, the CDC seems to be doing away with the test

Has anyone had this test and how long did it take to get results?
Where did you obtain the test? Pharmancy, Health Department?

Posted by
6223 posts

PCR tests are the "gold standard" COVID tests for consumers. They are way more accurate than antigen tests (the most common tests consumers can get). PCR tests are not going away.

There are countless places to get a PCR test. I'd wager most forum users have taken them. The time it takes to get test results will vary wildly - from a few minutes (rare, expensive) to 24-48 hours (this was typically the norm last summer, before omicron). Before my trip to Europe last August, free PCR tests were available everywhere in my home town (Seattle) -- literally, like on every street corner in some neighborhoods -- you just needed to go online and make an appointment, but availability and turnaround all depended (and still does) on your location and current local demand. Now, with omicron raging, test availability has obviously changed dramatically (because demand has completely blown up along with infection rates).

Prior to international travel in August, I could get a no-cost-to-me PCR test "tomorrow" at hundreds of nearby locations. I ended up taking four tests in the days before I departed (because, turn-around times are not guaranteed, and I had a complex and conflicting set of testing requirements because of multiple long flights and different test requirements). I received test results between 24-36 hours from when I took them. Two from big-chain pharmacies, two from city/state-run test clinics.

April is a long, long time away. A lot will change between now and your departure. Count on that, keep on top of what the latest options/requirements are, and roll with the punches (repeatedly).

Google is your friend. Try "COVID PCR tests near me". Good luck.

Posted by
5196 posts

There’s a company with a test center near me in Annapolis, Sameday Health, that offers RT-PCR tests. Its site says results in <24 hours. There is a $75 rush fee one needs to pay for getting the test to the lab quicker. It seems to have some test centers in key cities around the U.S. Not certain why Ecuador requires a Rapid Test unless the test must be within 24 hours of travel.

We loved Quito and all its churches as well as Otavalo and its Feria artesanal. Of course, La Mitad Del Mundo was fun to visit as was taking the teleférico to the mountain top.

Posted by
13080 posts

If there are any national chain pharmacies near you, check with them. Also Labcorp.

Posted by
6680 posts

From the CDC link:
In preparation for this change, CDC recommends clinical laboratories and testing sites that have been using the CDC 2019-nCoV RT-PCR assay select and begin their transition to another FDA-authorized COVID-19 test.

The test is going away. The test is the RT-PCR, as opposed to the standard PCR. I can get the standard PCR at my CVS and several places.

Time will tell.

Posted by
7751 posts

I think the difficulty is that some countries' requirements specifically say RT-PCR currently.